Son of Cookie Monster

August 19, 2012

Last week, I celebrated my two-year anniversary at my job.  That’s right: for 731 days, give or take, I’ve been delighting and entertaining my coworkers with my very presence in the office.  Okay, maybe not.  And not that anyone else would have remembered the date, but I wanted to do something just a little festive.  I had some extra time one evening and decided that mini cupcakes were in order.

The conversation went something like this:

“I thought I’d do vanilla cupcakes with a pink frosting.  Maybe I can use some maraschino cherry juice for flavour.  Ooh, or that Dr. Pepper stuff I got!”  (At this point, I was picturing something all princess-y.)

“Oh.  But your chocolate ones are so good, have such a nice flavour.”

“Okay.  Sure.  I can do chocolate with a cherry or Dr. Pepper frosting.”

“Why don’t you do blue raspberry frosting again?  It tasted really nice.”

Okay, so I did the blue raspberry frosting again.  (It worked so nicely with the pale blue liners you can’t really see for the chocolate cake.)  I thought I was smart by dissolving my drink crystals in the almond milk before adding it to the frosting, but they didn’t provide me with a sufficiently intense flavour or colour, so I added a smidge of raspberry extract and some blue food colouring.  Maybe it was the addition of the extract, but it had almost a blue-bubblegum flavour this time.  They might lack the characterization of their Cookie Monster predecessors, but they hold a certain charm nonetheless.

My coworkers loved them!  Between 8:00 and 10:00, they managed to polish off 30 of the little suckers.

I still have to try Dr. Pepper frosting, though…

The Oscar the Grouch cupcakes I made a few weeks back went over well with everyone who tried one – and I was so excited by the way the grass tip created his fur.  I couldn’t wait to try other Sesame Street characters!  I was pretty sure that Cookie Monster was going to be next on my list, because I’ve always felt a strange kinship with him.  My grammar may be better than his, but honestly, the reason I learned how to bake was to feed my cookie addiction.

While searching the bulk food store for some chickpea flour, I happened upon bins of flavoured drink crystals, including a vibrant blue-raspberry.  It was fate.  Yes!  Now I absolutely had to buy some, and mix them into my frosting instead of/in addition to blue food colouring, and I had to make Cookie Monster cupcakes post-haste!  This was going to be great!

Not, perhaps, a spitting image, but certainly recognizable.  My fatal mistake (I realize now) was adding in the drink crystals along with some food colouring after I had mixed all the other frosting ingredients and already had a nice, fluffy buttercream.  I had thought because the icing was “wet” – as in, not yet dried and hardened – that the crystals would dissolve.  They did not, at least not entirely.  And they might be miniscule, but that didn’t stop them from clogging up my grass tip.  After six incredibly frustrating cupcakes, including several attempts to clear and re-clear the holes in the tip using a toothpick or just unscrewing the coupler and rinsing the silly thing out with water, I got fed up, switched tips, and did this:

It may look and feel like a cop-out, sure, but I’ve always liked blue-and-brown as a colour combination, so it’s not that bad.  They’re still whimsical, just in a non-licensed way.

Oh, and in case you were curious: the drink crystals did impart a lovely blue-raspberry flavour that is noticeable without being overpowering.  I’ve learned from my mistake, though, and next time they’re being dissolved in the almond milk first before being mixed in.